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S&P Global Platts and IHS Markit ENR combine to become S&P Global Commodity Insights. S&P Global Commodity Insights brings together highly complementary capabilities to power the markets of the future.

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Airbus, CFM to develop hydrogen combustion engine for aviation

Airbus and jet engine manufacturer CFM International are to partner on a hydrogen combustion demonstration project that will launch around 2025, the companies said in a statement Feb. 22.

The partners aim to test a direct combustion hydrogen engine on the ground and in flight from the middle of the decade, ready for commercial service of zero-emission aircraft by 2035.

"This is the most significant step undertaken at Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered flight since the unveiling of our ZEROe concepts in September 2020," Airbus Chief Technical Officer Sabine Klauke said. "By leveraging the expertise of American and European engine manufacturers to make progress on hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership sends a clear message that our industry is committed to making zero-emission flight a reality."

Airbus and CFM will use an A380 flying testbed equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks from Airbus facilities in France and Germany, they said.

The engine will be mounted along the rear fuselage of the testbed to allow monitoring of emissions, including contrails, the companies said.

S&P Global Platts Analytics said the aviation sector in Europe is expected to see only limited hydrogen penetration of less than 10,000 b/d of oil equivalent by 2050.

"While as of today, successful test flights on short-haul 19-seater hydrogen fuel cell aircraft have taken place in the UK, the Platts Analytics models assumes that hydrogen use in aviation does not achieve commercialization until 2035, in line with research and design plans put forward by Airbus and other manufacturers," Platts Analytics said in an October report.

S&P Global Platts assessed carbon-neutral hydrogen ex-works Northwest Europe at Eur5.40/kg ($6.12/kg) Feb. 22, down from a peak of over Eur12/kg on Dec. 22.

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